ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 90-1077

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Ottawa, 22 October 1990
Decision CRTC 90-1077
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Deep River, Ontario - 900010000
Following a Public Hearing in the National Capital Region beginning on 5 July 1990, the Commission approves, subject to the submission and acceptance of revised technical parameters, the application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to carry on a television broadcasting transmitting undertaking to serve Deep River by rebroadcasting the programs of CBOT Ottawa, Ontario. Once the technical concerns outlined in this decision have been addressed to the Commission's satisfaction and interested parties have had an opportunity comment on the new technical proposal, the Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 1994 that will be subject to the conditions specified in the licence to be issued.
CHRO-TV Pembroke, the CBC-affiliate station serving part of the Ottawa Valley, currently broadcasts only part of the national and regional programs available from the English-language CBC television network, some of which are re-scheduled at different times than other CBC stations. The CBC stated at the hearing that this application would correct this situation and enable some 7,500 persons, including a portion of CHRO-TV's existing audience as well as other area residents who do not receive CBC television service, "to enjoy the full national service of the CBC, with all programs broadcast at the same time as they are found on all other CBC stations across the country."
The CBC stated at the hearing that the circumstances that led to the affiliation of CHRO-TV to the CBC network some thirty years ago no longer exist. It argued that, initially, CHRO-TV Pembroke and CBOT Ottawa audiences were "largely unduplicated" and, therefore, the affiliation was a "very cost-efficient means of expanding national service to the Upper Ottawa Valley". The current availability of CHRO-TV on cable television, however, has created a competitive situation so that a wholly-owned CBC station, CBOT, is competing directly with a CBC-affiliate station, CHRO-TV, for audience and in turn, for advertising revenues. The Commission notes that it has today approved an application by Baton Broadcasting Incorporated, on behalf of Mid-Canada Communications (Canada) Corp., that was heard at the same public hearing to amend the licence for CHRO-TV by changing its network affiliation from the CBC to the CTV network.
With respect to the present application, the CBC proposed to operate this rebroadcasting undertaking on channel 3, with an effective radiated power of 3,000 watts and an antenna height of 96 metres. The Commission notes that, as Pembroke itself is located within the Grade A service contour of CHRO-TV, Pembroke viewers currently receive a strong, high quality CBC signal. Of concern to the Commission at the hearing was whether the CBC rebroadcaster to be located near Deep River, some 45 kilometres northwest of Pembroke, would provide Pembroke viewers with an adequate signal. The Commission, therefore, examined the technical parameters of the proposed undertaking at Deep River and the likely reception quality of the signal at Pembroke. Further, the Commission expressed concern that the use of channel 3 at the proposed transmitter site and power of 3,000 watts may not provide for the optimum coverage for the Upper Ottawa region.
At the hearing, the CBC stated that its intention was to improve CBC coverage, and not to completely duplicate the CHRO-TV service contour. Further, the CBC stressed that the proposed television transmitter will extend the CBOT signal to areas north of Deep River, and provide CBC programs to some 2,000 viewers who do not currently have access to any English-language CBC television network programming over the air or via cable television. In this regard, the Commission acknowledges the supporting intervention received from Mr. R. B. Shields of Deep River who is currently unable to receive an adequate CBOT signal.
At the hearing, the CBC stated that "detailed calculations and computer studies indicate that the signal level in Pembroke will be halfway between Grade A and Grade B" and that it "does not anticipate that ... Pembroke...residents will encounter reception difficulties based on this signal level".
The CBC also indicated that, should it be determined that the Deep River signal is inadequate to provide a satisfactory signal to Pembroke, it would investigate either increasing the Deep River transmitter's power or establishing a low-power "drop in" television undertaking at Pembroke.
Further, the CBC advised the Commission that it intends to seek an amendment of the licence for CBOT-1 Foymount, which currently provides CBC programming to an area west of Ottawa, to increase that rebroadcaster's power so as to complement the present Deep River application, providing CBC service to more viewers in the region, including some of those viewers who currently receive the CBC television service through CHRO-TV.
In response to Commission questioning at the hearing, the CBC indicated that it had conducted extensive evaluations of different sites and that it was fully satisfied that these plans represent the best means of extending full CBC service to the area. The Commission required the CBC to file copies of the technical assessments used to reach this conclusion.
The technical aspects of this application were also raised in an intervention submitted by Global Communications Limited (Global), licensee of several television undertakings in Ontario. In this regard, Global expressed concern that the proposed rebroadcaster "will provide inferior CBC service to the Pembroke area -- even in conjunction with CBOT, Ottawa -- to that currently provided by CHRO-TV Pembroke as a CBC affiliate". The intervenor also suggested that the proposal to serve Pembroke, the largest community within the proposed service area, via a low-power rebroadcaster would be unacceptable.
In its deliberations, the Commission has taken into account all of the information available to it including the divergent views expressed at the public hearing and the technical information that the CBC submitted to the Commission following the hearing. The Commission reaffirms the importance it attaches to adequate CBC service being made available throughout the Ottawa Valley and is satisfied that the provision of the full CBC service to a larger audience in the Upper Ottawa Valley region is in the public interest.
The Commission is not, however, convinced that a transmitter located at Deep River, even with a higher transmitter power than that proposed, could provide an adequate signal to the Pembroke area. Moreover, the Commission is not satisfied that the use of a low-power rebroadcaster in Pembroke represents the most appropriate method by which the CBC could meet its desired coverage objective and provide quality service to its viewers.
It therefore requires that the Corporation, following consultation with the Department of Communications (DOC) and Commission staff, and within three months of the date of this decision, apply for approval of revised technical parameters that will more adequately address the Commission's concern regarding the signal quality of the CBC service at Pembroke. In this respect, the Commission encourages the CBC to optimize the use of channel 3 which may involve the selection of a new site as well as revised technical parameters which would effectively enable the CBC to better serve the target area in the Upper Ottawa Valley as well as an area south of Golden Lake, and provide a television signal not appreciably inferior to that currently provided by CHRO-TV.
The Commission will consider such an application expeditiously in the interest of ensuring the provision of CBC television programming to the Upper Ottawa Valley region at the earliest date possible.
In accordance with paragraph 13(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission will issue a licence to the applicant if it is in receipt of written notification from the DOC, within six months of the date of this decision that it will issue a Broadcasting Certificate. No licence will be issued if the Commission does not receive this notification within said period or, where the applicant applies to the Commission and satisfies the Commission that it is unable to obtain said notification before the expiry of this six-month period and that an extension of this period is in the public interest, within such further period of time as is approved in writing by the Commission.
Alain-F. Desfossés
Secretary General

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